Today, the request for more sustainable building is no longer a personal choice, but a requirement regulated by the construction sector in order to implement measures aimed at improving the behaviour of facilities and buildings towards the environment.

The ecological architecture originally started to reduce both pollutants emissions and energetic consumption. This specific architecture aims at optimizing the use of natural resources we dispose of so that it is possible to limit buildings impact on environment and people’s health. However, these buildings can achieve their goal, as long as they are constructed by using ecological materials, which produce minimum quantities of pollutant agents either in the manufacturing process or at the end of their useful life.

Ecological construction materials

Wood is one of the most ecological and used material in this type of building. Moreover, there are several wood’s advantages and type of usage, for instance, the following ones:

  • It functions as an insulating material (thermally and acoustically) which avoids outdoor/ indoor thermal exchanges. In addition to that, since it breaks thermal bridges, it is possible to save a great amount of energy as well as reducing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. It is estimated that wood buildings can save more or less 60% of energy per year.
  • Wood house buildings require a shorter construction time and are 30% cheaper than concrete ones
  • It is a completely ecological and sustainable material since it can be recycled and reused
  • It is resistant, multifunctional and can also balance indoor rooms humidity levels
  • Wood is a low electric conductivity material, therefore, it is possible to reduce at the minimum electric shock danger
  • Wood production price is very low, provided it has a certified origin and comes from an ecological-friendly cutting

Cellulose or paper fibre. This material comes from newspaper recycled paper subsequently treated with borax salts. Due to these salts, the material has fireproof, insecticide and fungicidal properties; in addition to that, it functions as an insulating element, it has a low conductivity and, finally, its manufacturing requires very limited energy.

Wood fibre insulating panels. These panels come from sawmill or wood industry waste; they can be recycled and reused once their useful life is over, they are fireproof and function as insulating elements both thermally and acoustically; however, due to their high humidity absorption level, we would not recommend them for outdoors.

Fired clay. As long as this material is not treated with a temperature higher than 950ºC, we can say it has all earth qualities, such as the following ones:

  • Hygroscopicity: it is capable of absorbing middle humidity
  • It has a strong insulating property which keeps buildings fresh in summer and warm in winter so that it is possible to reduce heating/ refrigeration equipment use.
  • Good thermal inertia. Thermal inertia indicates certain elements’ capacity to store the received thermal energy and liberate it progressively. By using materials such as fired clay in buildings enclosures, it is possible to reduce air conditioning equipment as well as limiting energy consumption and pollutant emissions.
  • Fired clay contains low radioactivity levels, hence it is completely harmless as far as environment and people’s health are concerned

Besides, fired clay has several pros, for instance the following ones:

  • Multifunctionality.  It can be used in many different construction elements (walls, enclosures, façades, vaults, roofs, tiles, lattices)
  • It is a low pollutant material since it is completely recyclable and its production process waste can be used again in the raw material preparation phase.

Glass. Glass is one of the most multifunctional and sustainable existing material. As a matter of fact, it can be used directly in ecological building or recycled in order to manufacture other materials such as floor tiles, coating and even optimize solar panels efficiency.

 Additional ecological materials

Even though the best-known materials are those we previously mentioned, people are still innovating and searching in order to make the most of any kind of waste coming from no matter what field, since ecological material range is wider and wider:

  • Use of quarry stone and other industrial process waste (marble, slate, ash, mud, municipal production waste, rubber, sawdust, straw and so forth)
  • Crop waste (sorghum peals, rice, wheat, coconut, bamboo or hemp)

Due to the use of these materials and new architecture design standards, which consider, for instance, building orientation, insulating and renewable energy resources, it will be possible to reach substantial energy saving, and, consequently, minimize the negative impact on the environment.

Manusa Automatic Doors